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Late jumper carries Franklin to win


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NEW PALESTINE

In his previous three games, New Palestine forward Michael Morris lit up the scoreboard for a combined 92 points.

But the torrid pace stopped Thursday night, thanks to the Franklin boys basketball team’s defense.

The Grizzly Cubs’ defense, coupled with a 12-foot jumper with four seconds to play by senior guard Keenan Wood, lifted them to a 47-45 win at New Palestine.

Franklin led by 10 twice in the fourth quarter but needed Woods’ basket to hang on.

“We run that for him. It’s an isolation play, particularly when it’s against a man-to-man defense, and he has the choice,” first-year Franklin coach Jerry Bomholt said. “Keenan very honestly has struggled a little bit in the last couple games with his confidence.

“I had just talked to him at the timeout and said you’re going to take it and tonight you’re going to make it.”

 

Wood, who was mobbed by his teammates, wanted to take the last shot.

“When there’s only a few seconds left, I want the ball in my hands,” Wood said. “So it was going to be take the shot or find an open man underneath.”

For Franklin (12-4), which had reeled off 11 consecutive wins before it lost to Southport and Columbus East in its past two games, righted the ship with defense.

“We were much better offensively,” Bomholt said. “We’ve been playing really good defense, but tonight I thought we did an extra special job on getting out on their 3-shooters.

“But when we got the lead, what usually happens with kids, they don’t all understand, if you get just a little bit passive things can go the other way.”

New Palestine fell to 13-5, which halted a five-game winning streak.

Morris finished with 15 points and had only five at halftime. But Franklin saw its 10-point fourth-quarter lead vanish when Morris heated up in the final 1:30, hitting two 3-pointers and a pair of free throws.

Junior guard Ryan Curry, also instrumental in the fourth-quarter rally, had a game-high 20 points, including six 3-pointers, for the Dragons.

Coming out of the half, Franklin got its first lead of the contest when junior forward Tyler Thomas got free down low for a layup, followed by a 3-pointer and fast-break layup after a steal by Wood.

With Morris out of the lineup for a breather, Franklin upped its lead to 26-19.

Up by only four to start the fourth quarter, the Cubs patiently worked their offense while managing the clock.

But with 2:30 left, New Palestine mounted its final rally with a 3-pointer by Curry and a layup by Brandon Jones to get within one at 41-40.

Thomas kept Franklin in front on a driving layup, and Christian Dickmann converted two free throws to make it 45-40.

Morris hit a 3-pointer and made two free throws to tie the game at 45-all.

Wood’s winning shot hit nothing but net, and Franklin got back on defense quickly.

A last-second shot down the lane by Solomon Haynes that would have tied the game rimmed out to give Franklin the victory.

Woods finished with 12 points, and Thomas added 14.

Franklin hosts Class 4A No. 3 Columbus North at 2:30 p.m. Saturday.

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